Special Needs Guidelines


Prepare now! Don’t wait until an emergency occurs:

Students: call the Resource Office on Disabilities at 203-432-2324.

Faculty and staff: talk to your supervisor, a building manager, or the University’s Office for Equal Opportunity Programs at 203-432-0849. They can help you through the planning process.

Preparation for people with permanent or temporary disabilities

  • Get involved in emergency and evacuation planning. If you are a part of the discussion, you can provide information on your specific abilities and limitations and tell people how best to provide you with effective assistance.
  • Identify your evacuation assistant. This person should know how to help you without causing injury to him- or herself, to you, or to others, even if you need to be lifted or carried.
  • Practice drills, increase skills, and instill confidence in your ability to cope in an emergency.
  • Practice how to explain quickly to people how they can assist you.
  • Know how to get to all the exits and areas of refuge and review them regularly.
  • Report safety hazards (fire extinguishers, blocked exits, furniture, etc.).
  • Teach your support network how to operate your equipment in an emergency (i.e., how to disengage the gears of a power wheelchair or scooter).
  • If you are hard of hearing or deaf, practice having co-workers communicate important information to you through gestures or text.
  • If you are blind, have co-workers practice guiding you.
  • If you use a service animal, the animal will be included in drills.
  • Carry emergency health information and emergency contact numbers with you at all times. Make multiple copies of this information to keep in your emergency supply kits, car, workplace, wallet, backpack, etc. If you trust someone at work, share a copy.


Know when to evacuate, shelter in place, and activate your network of assistance.


During evacuation:

  • If you need assistance evacuating a building, determine the most direct evacuation route and wait in the designated area. Call 911 to report where you are waiting.
  • Be prepared to give critical information quickly on how someone can assist you without causing injury.

Area of refuge:

  • Go to the identified area of refuge and call 911 to report where you are waiting.